Saturday, June 7, 2014
The Crescent Moon by Rabindranath Tagore
Author: Rabindranath Tagore
Original Publication Date: 1913
Of the seemingly governing heavenly bodies that grace our diurnal lives, it is, in innumerable instances, the Moon that stands as the epitome of womanhood, and by necessary operation, motherhood. Father Sun and Mother Moon and Children Stars, so it would go. The raison d’etre for such association is conspicuous. The moonlight always seemed so intuitive, warm, subtle and welcoming, as warm as a mother’s embrace, as welcome as a mother’s love.
The crescent moon, which follows a new moon, would suggest new beginnings. But in the cyclic fabric of the Lunar phases, everything may, inevitably, stand for beginnings and endings.
This is what The Crescent Moon contains, poems and rhapsodies about motherhood and their children in varying degrees of this supreme bond. Verses talk about a baby’s heavenly birth, a child’s charming precociousness, a mother’s concern, and the inevitable bittersweet sadness over the emotional transition of a child growing up, the beginnings and endings of the mother and child relationship. This explores the beauty of the child’s world and the boundless nature of a mother’s love. These are the pervasive themes in this book.
“I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby's mind, and out beyond all bounds;
Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms of kings of no history;
Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, and Truth sets Fact free from its fetters.” (18)
The 4 star rating should suffice to validate that beyond Gitanjali, Tagore’s sublime touch and masterful grace is still present.
This is my most favored among the lot.
"WHERE have I come from, where did you pick me up?" the baby asked its mother.
She answered half crying, half laughing, and clasping the baby to her breast,-- "You were hidden in my heart as its desire, my darling.
You were in the dolls of my childhood's games; and when with clay I made the image of my god every morning, I made and unmade you then.
You were enshrined with our household deity, in his worship I worshipped you.
In all my hopes and my loves, in my life, in the life of my mother you have lived.
In the lap of the deathless Spirit who rules our home you have been nursed for ages.
When in girlhood my heart was opening its petals, you hovered as a fragrance about it.
Your tender softness bloomed in my youthful limbs, like a glow in the sky before the sunrise.
Heaven's first darling, twin-born with the morning light, you have floated down the stream of the world's life, and at last you have stranded on my heart.
As I gaze on your face, mystery overwhelms me; you who belong to all have become mine.
“For fear of losing you I hold you tight to my breast. What magic has snared the world's treasure in these slender arms of mine?”
Other works by Rabindranath Tagore:
The Gardener (4 Stars)
Gitanjali (4 Stars)
Nationalism (3 Stars)
This book forms part of my remarkably extensive reading list on Nobel Prize for Literature Laureates